WORKERS in Singapore are likely to see a deep cut in performance bonuses this year as the economy is tipped to stay in the slow lane, according to a poll by HR Business Solutions.

But the bonuses are still expected to be the biggest in Asia, where the impact of the global economic slowdown is finally being felt, the poll of 1,213 companies taken by the human resource consultancy firm showed.

Performance bonuses in Singapore, which averaged 2.04 months of base salary last year, the highest in the region, are projected to fall 17 per cent to 1.7 months' salary in 2013, excluding the 13th-month annual wage supplement.

Bonuses are also tipped to drop in virtually all of the rest of Asia, but only in two economies are they likely to fall steeper than in Singapore.

The two economies are Pakistan and New Zealand, where bonuses are expected to slip by 25 per cent and 23 per cent to 1.32 months and 1.19 months of pay respectively.

Performance bonuses are forecast to fall by between 2 and 25 per cent this year in all the economies polled, except for Japan. They are tipped to stay flat at around 1.45 months of pay there.

Bonuses will fall 2 per cent both in the Philippines and in South Korea to 1.43 months and 1.52 months respectively.

Performance bonuses are likely to drop 7 per cent in China to 1.54 months of pay. In Hong Kong, they will fall 8 per cent to 1.48 months and in Taiwan, bonuses will decline 10 per cent to 1.58 months of pay.

"Insofar as performance bonus is concerned, it reflects the global and local performance of organisations," said Elaine Ng, HRBS's managing principal. "Many employers are granting performance bonus in Asia slightly below their target or budget amount, a reflection of their 2012 business results."

While bonuses may be smaller, she said employers will still keep up with pay increases because of labour shortages.

In Singapore, the poll showed that professionals and general workers are probably going to be hit hardest, with their bonuses slashed 23 per cent to 1.47 months and 1.27 months of pay respectively.

Top managers here will see their bonuses reduced by 16 per cent to 2.76 months of pay.